We reported earlier in the week about how many 18-24 year old’s may fail to register to vote in the EU referendum due to the process requiring a National Insurance number, which many considered too difficult to obtain. Well it seems many young people managed to muster up the effort and typically many people were registering in their thousands right at the last minute, just before the midnight deadline on the 7th June. As a result of the increased activity, the registration website crashed, meaning that many people with the intentions to register, missed out. As a result of the technical difficulty, Prime minister David Cameron has called for the deadline to be extended.
According to David Cameron, the Government have been in urgent talks to try and have the registration deadline moved, they want to ensure that the fault of the website did not prevent tens of thousands of people from registering to vote, and thus not being able to have their say on referendum day, 23rd June. The website collapsed for the final two hours of the deadline, quite a long amount of time and so affected many. The elections Watchdog called for the Government to intervene after it was clear that some people were going to miss out on registering. This morning, a statement was made by David Cameron in the House of Commons that said people should still register today. His statement comes after the Electoral Commission urged the Government to consider the factors that would effectively extend the deadline. From 10.40pm on Tuesday night the Cabinet Office website would not allow users to register their details as it appeared too many people were attempting to register at the same time. Opposition leaders, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had called for action when the website ceased to work. The technical hitch could be a serious once as it means potentially tens of thousands of voters failed to register.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has expressed his surprise at the lack of back up plan in such an instance. He notes that given the history of IT errors with the Government he would have thought something would be in place to prevent the chaos and blind panic that ensued by 11pm last night. With deciding whether to remain or leave the EU a major decision, it is important that as much of the UK vote as possible. Farron calls for the Government to enable the decision to extend the deadline for a further 24 hours. With the belief that it was many younger people who have failed to register, Remain campaigners such as Farron express particular concern for the website’s failure because it is thought that many younger voters are pro-Europe, meaning that the website’s collapse could potentially lose Remain a fair few votes. However, it seems that the deadline extension is a fair all round view as UKIP leader Nigel Farage also called for it to be moved. If you were affected yesterday and unable to register, register today as it is likely that the deadline will be altered.